What I believe

I’m not exactly the hide-in-the-closet type of person. I am, after all, in the Military. Furthermore, I’m an artist-writer-singer-musician-runner-frisbee player-feminist-Pagan, and one thing I’m rarely called is *quiet.* My clothes are loud, my hair is loud, my voice is loud, my laugh is loud, absolutely everything about me and my very presence in a room is LOUD, even if I’m not saying a word. I don’t shy away from arguments, I embrace diversity--relish in it, even--and I wear my heart on my sleeve (except for those professional situations in my day to day life where emotion is generally inappropriate). Thus, if you’ve known me for less than a day, you’ve probably already noticed that I’m not exactly kosher vanilla ice cream. And if you haven’t noticed anything different…then you must be terribly unobservant. In conclusion, I’m out. Everyone who knows me, knows I’m Pagan. What, you ask, does this mean? It means I get asked a LOT of questions.

The question I get asked most often by my non-Pagan friends is what, precisely, do I believe? Followed shortly thereafter by: Whom do I worship? How do I worship? When did this happen? How come I still sing in a Catholic Choir sometimes? Yada yada yada. Everyone always has a thousand questions for me, but usually they’re asked in a polite and even innocent manner. Sometimes I feel a bit like a sideshow circus, but most of the time if I said I disliked being the center of attention, I’d be lying, which incidentally violates my code of honor.

Therefore, without further ado, allow me to present the breakdown of what being Pagan means to me:

1) What do I believe? I usually answer this one with a vocabulary lesson. I’m a pantheist, I say, to which I receive a field of blank stares (expected). Pantheism refers to the concept that Divinity is a part of everything, literally every piece of life on the physical plane and higher planes is a part of the connecting God or Spirit or what-have you. The entire universe is divine. This all-encompassing Deity of Life can be broken down into smaller pieces or aspects, which function independently and can therefore be accessed by invoking the names of individual gods and goddesses who govern specific divine domains. It’s like all gods and goddesses are the same energy, just different wavelengths. As a nerd, I do tend to approach everything rather academically.

2) Whom do I worship? As I explained earlier, I’m a pantheist (also sometimes called “soft-polytheism,” although in my opinion, the two are subtly different), but I am closer to certain aspects of the Divine--certain deities--than I am to others. As a feminist and a soldier, obviously Warrior and Huntress goddess archetypes appeal to me. I feel callings particularly with Diana (note: not the Diana of Dianic Wicca, but rather the primeval Huntress worshiped by pre-Roman Italian tribes and Scythian Amazons) as well as the Morrighan, Irish goddess of war. However, in rare moments of domesticity, I’ve worked with Brigid, a Celtic hearth goddess, as well. Recently I've begun developing a relationship with The Forest Lord especially in his incarnation as Stag, who appeared to me in a series of dreams and a vision quest that inspired some of the paintings displayed in my sidebar. My ethnic heritage draws from Slovak, English, German, Scottish, Irish, and Native American, so I feel comfortable claiming connections with most pantheons.

3) How do I worship? In general…I burn a few candles and incense, say a few prayers, write some devotional poetry, work attributes of my Matron Deities into my art and music. I try to observe the full moons for Diana and the new moons for the Morrighan, as well as the Sabbats for general turning of the seasons, but I can’t always be consistent since I live in a semi-urban apartment and occasionally a Sabbat coincides with a Field Training Exercise. Sometimes I’ll make offerings of milk or pretty shells or stones or dried rose petals. For me, the act of research is also an act of worship. I likewise feel closer to Diana and the Morrighan when I’m doing something physical like working out, training, dancing, etc. I meditate periodically. I record my dreams. I spend a lot of time in the woods, frequently through military training events, and being outside for me also brings me closer to the Earth, which I likewise consider worship. Due to my incredibly busy schedule and the fact that I have VERY few free weekends, I have never been able to attend a festival or other Pagan gathering, a fact which I would like very much to change.

4) Do I cast spells? Ehhh…it’s complicated. I mostly just pray and commune with the forces of nature and then miraculously, the things I want to happen, happen. Any time I’ve tried to actually manipulate anything with a *spell* it’s either backfired or just not worked, so now I mostly just keep on my path and trust that someone up there likes me and wants me to be happy, healthy, and whole. I’ve found that works best for me. And maybe it is magic; maybe the force of my positive thinking is enough Will to make things go my way. Regardless, I don’t consider myself a priestess or a mystic or possessing of any special powers. I’m a warrior-bard, walking a warrior path, and any magic in my blood is just the magic of my ancestors calling me to fulfill my destiny, whatever that destiny may be.

5) Am I a Witch? I don’t think so, but it’s just a title. I feel like you have to actually cast spells and seek to manipulate in order to earn the title of Witch, so I mostly just stick with “Pagan.” I’m a follower of the old ways…many different old ways from many different lands…but you know what I’ve found out in all that research that I do so much of? There’s a heck of a lot of cross-cultural similarities. One religion really isn’t that different from the next. Sure, there are different names and levels and some believe in reincarnation while others don’t (I, for one, am a believer), but at the core? Most are the same. We can invoke one goddess with twenty different names, because ten different groups of people had different names for her, but it’s still the same archetypal energy. So no, I’m not a Witch by my definition, but if I am such by yours, then so be it. It’s not a matter of deep concern for me.

6) So….when can I get that Tarot reading? Pretty much whenever! I conduct regular tarot readings for myself and upon occasion for several dozen friends, so I've got the practice and of all the forms of divination, the tarot comes most easily to me. I would be honored to read for anyone else seeking guidance or just to have a new experience, whether it be in person if you happen to be a Texas local or over the phone, even via email. I will not--I repeat, NOT--charge you for a reading. Contact me here if you are interested.